This post continues the previous ones about Isis – to remind myself Who she is. The next post will conclude this series with Dion Fortune’s invocation of Isis as “the Sea Priestess”.
To label an aggressive militant virus loosely as “isis” is a misnomer, unconsciously perverting and undermining our human-ness and capacity to heal. The women and girls are attacked, stoned, tortured or infected in that mindset, which mindlessly destroys ancient sacred places.
Our genetic vitality as men and women, stems from the archetypal wisdoms and mythologies of the ancient world. Isis is – at our thoughtless peril – trampled, forgotten or abused. In the mirror of every culture, she is what we truly are, the light and the shadow. As the goddess of the Moon she rules the tides of our psychology; as Gaia she is our Earth.
What can we do?
Recognise the daily corporate hypnosis under which we lie, under which we dream as slaves, accepting belief – and wake up. It is better to see and be aware of the venom than to step right into it. The problem is not in other lands, politics or ideologies – it starts HERE, with what we care about.
Remember who we are. Find and grow from our roots, and be an example to our children. Let it spread. No frozen society out there can do it. I and you are in HERE – the open reality we create. Individual awakenings send ripples far and wide, and change things.
Here is another chapter from my “Arcanum Two” (1991, 2011):
The sea near Tintagel
September 1991 – The Wholeness of Osiris: Precession of the Equinox:
What are the scattered pieces, the fragments of Osiris? Typhon, the god of titanic entropy or disorder, slew and scattered fourteen parts of Osiris the Law-giver up and down the black land. Isis wept over, gathered and conceived from them the child HORUS, of herself and her womb-brother Osiris.
Plutarch – an initiate – tells of Horus’s battle with Typhon to avenge his father:
“We are … told that among the great numbers who were continually deserting from Typho’s party was his concubine Thueris. A serpent pursuing her as she was coming over to Horus, was slain by her soldiers. The memory of this action, they say, is still preserved in the cord which is thrown into the midst of their assemblies and then chopped into pieces.
“Afterwards it came to a battle between them which lasted many days. But victory at length inclined to Horus, Typhon himself being taken prisoner. Isis however, to whose custody Typhon was committed, was so far from putting him to death that she even loosed his bonds and set him free. This action of his mother so extremely incensed Horus that he laid hands upon her and pulled off the ensign of royalty which she wore on her head. Thoth(Hermes/mercurial) clapped onto Isis instead a helmet made in the shape of an ox’s head.
“After this, Typhon publicly accused Horus of bastardy. But with the help of Thoth the legitimacy of Horus was fully established by the judgement of the gods themselves. After this there were two other battles fought between them, in both of which Typhon had the worst. Furthermore, Isis is said to have kept company with Osiris after his death, and in consequence to have brought forth Harpocrates, who came into the world before his time and lame in his lower limbs.”
In Plutarch’s account Horus was conceived before the fragmentation; he was conceived indeed in the mutual affection of Osiris and Isis as siblings in the womb of their mother before they were born. And Horus became known to the Greeks as Apollo, the god or radiance of the Sun’s (physical) chariot.
What are those scattered fragments of Osiris?
When they are put back together he is brought to life.
Note this: he is brought to life, a life beyond the concept of beginning or ending with the fragments. Instantly it springs to being, and has always been. It crosses the plane of fragmentary knowledge.
The fragments are perhaps the multiple and illusory costumes, lifetimes, of the body. The fragments are what remains of the Alexandrian Library – the wisdom of the ancient world. They arise among the disappearance of Self-knowledge into ignorance, into the pockets of spacetime called maya, or matter or “separate” incarnations.
The initiate, entering the cave of “sleep” emerges as a bird from a tiny opening deep in the heart lotus. The pocket of space and time falls away. The chamber of all the worlds – the whole of the Great Pyramid – is open to his flight of seeing. He awakens from the trap of time.
The wholeness of OSIRIS is a dimension of which the visible shapes of his body or any of his parts are only sections in time and space across it, apparently disparate.
The reality of OSIRIS is a Great Circle; like a “lunar” or “solar” orbit of human cycles of life on earth towards Reintegration. It abides beyond and within the visible spheres. The visible bodies in the night are only allegories. Osiris and Isis are a Mystery Play of reflected light whose phases, on the Moon, seek unity. I wonder if this relates to the Great Circle (25,800 years) or precession of the equinox around the ages of history … his story?
The combined action of solar and lunar gravity causes the polar axis of earth to ‘wobble’ or describe a slow dance around itself. This exposes the terrestrial magnetic field to subtle changes in alignment with the constellations. The turning of a mystic dervish expresses this.
The rhythmic cycles of our local perception or Universe, the times for plants to grow and for human beings to awaken dormant strata to the light, seem to be governed by Osiris and his sister Isis from a plane transcending that of the zodiac (the planetary/psychological frame of reference.) Neither of them represents solely the Sun (gold) or the Moon (silver). Their mystery dance describes their cyclic relationship. Osiris, known as the Sun of the Dead, appears as the Sun’s light upon phases (death and resurrection) of the Moon, particularly as it waxes. But he derives from ‘RA’ or ‘PTAH’ of a primordial LIGHT.
The rhythmic breath of Osiris and Isis governs the solar System as a whole. Perhaps they are analogous to the galaxy or, more locally, to the nodes of intersecting planetary orbits, the petals of the Great rose. They dwell outside the measure of planetary time, while remaining inside cosmos, the Divine Circle inscribed by Thoth within atoms and stars. The name of their son HORUS means ‘Time’ and also the eye of the eagle. The higher the eagle flies the smaller appears the space-time context, and the larger is the view around it.
From the raised apex of the Pyramid which is its centre, an edifice can be viewed. The plane of the base has four sides; at the point ‘above’, where they meet, they are simultaneous. This raised point is simultaneously the length, breadth and depth of the world around. It is the stance of rectitude, of truth. The fourth dimension cancels opinion and division, because as there is no separation between things, there are no ‘things’ themselves.
The Eye of RA, the primordial SUN, is this hieroglyph for the eagle HORUS, the Oudja: “The Right Eye of the Supreme Being is the Sun, and his Left Eye is the Moon.”
In the old stories the left eye of Horus, wounded by Typnon/Seth is repaired by Thoth. Thoth, Master of writing, of sciences and of time, has again and again to separate the two combatents, gather together the fragments of the hurt Eye and heal them into a unity greater than the sum of their parts.
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes states:
“Thou shalt separate earth from fire, the subtle from the gross,
with prudence, understanding and modesty.
The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens
and returns again to the earth,
taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below.
Thus you will obtain the glory of the Whole world.
In the organism of the whole, the left eye has all the adventures for it receives, it is YIN; and the right eye performs the synthesis for it gives, it is YANG. Healers know intuitively that the ‘energy’ which cures fractions of the body and soul in mass, utilizes a ‘higher power’ of light beyond the small area of their differences. Isis and Osiris are a profound and esoteric resonance of the solar and lunar pulse in nature; their mutually embracing TAO.
The Great Circle and the Egg
In working with ISIS, the priestess of the Second arcanum, I feel like a ‘broken’ circle, which desires completion into a circuit. Electrically the current propels this urge over a vaccuum to return to itself. The divine Circle fell from the edgeless sphere into the elliptical distortion of a mental universe which oscillates between two poles.
This happens when the conjecturing mind pushes harder and harder at its own frontier. It constructs hypotheses, wanting everything to “fit” and falls exhausted and dead into flat paper. “So What?” What is the good of writing symphonies about silence, if there is no silence here, if waves of irritation immediately arise when the telephone doesn’t work, when the water mains is turned off, when gadgets are all-important, when fatigue snaps?
The orbital rhythms of the planets are egg shaped. Within them shines the perfect golden sphere of their birth, our yearning for them to be simply that. They move around the Sun, carrying interior Suns. Every feature of the visible universe is a dance of assymetry towards that unchanging ideal. Within my door of perception, this moves and changes and becomes the creation of matter and time. Re-cognition of ‘TWO’ catalyzes a movement towards ‘ONE’ which is ‘THREE’. The flow of current, its friction into photons or ‘particle-waves’ of light, sets up the paradox of ‘movement’ with ‘not-movement’; a relativity.
In these explorations, I am driven by beauty. The aesthetic sense has its own limitations, because it wants to make things conform to it. The mind builds castles, and becomes over taxed. The truth, being beauty, has no expectation. It is better to keep quiet, and to trust that truth is beauty, and needs no grandiose support or justification. In the absence of these, I become still.
When recognised, the testament to human beauty – a Bach cello suite, a Botticelli angel, the wind, the sea, the birds, the high pre-Cambrian moorland of mid Wales, and the colours of earth, water and autumn leaves – awakens again in its natural element. With a scented rose in the garden, who needs to construct one in the firmament, out of sight? And yet … those ones, those mansions in the subconscious, are special cultivations, seeds of wisdom. They bloom there undying … the garden for everyman to find.
Letter Gimel – wheatsheaf
The letters BEIT and GIMEL echo but are not quite the same as the Firmament which is silence.
Gimel – and Into the Street
Going out now, late evening, into the street for groceries, I find – though very tired – an intense awareness of the field of space between me and each other person I see along the crowded pavement outside Waitrose. The world is differentiated. My eyesight retreats to within my spine. between the wings, and shows to me each person, each object, with clarity and without comment. Even the existence of my uppity ego has clarity, without comment.
If I hope to travel into being ‘Not Two’, it makes good sense to know what the condition of ‘Two’ really is. How can this be done without becoming lovingly interested in it? How much of life is spent bundling along and totally unaware even of duality and separate objects and the space between us? Those separate beings, mobile screens of history and inner-life, are comets who trail their births behind them, the invisible tale growing endlessly longer. They register within me with a sensation now of … something like hard diamonds. Each one is this hard and shiny rock of light… like being a jeweller. Who cut the first diamond?
Who cast the first stone?
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her,” said Jesus scribbling vaguely on the ground when the elders all crowded indignantly round the repentant prostitute and asked what to do.
When I am out in the street like this, words, poems, riddles, fragments of koans come, to be stopped and written down. They are traces, incomplete, of little fish sliding away, they are mischievous mercurial promptings, of the mind that will not rest. They are like the voice which delivers an enigma between waking and sleep. It sounds like a perfect capsule for unremembered truth.
I did much free-wheeling with these promptings, for years encouraging and writing them down. They lead to my oracle, the inner ruler. But if I become too enamoured of them, they no longer guide but exhaust me – the froth and foam, but not the water of life itself.
Mental metal-fatigue is a painful exercise. What poetic fancies about Osiris and Isis can reach me here? They seem now to be only a way to pass the time, with a risk of redundancy. They seem to be effluents of arrogant cardinals in the church. What of my limited aesthetic of circles beyond the circles in the invisible sky, right now, when the birds have flown? What on earth do I know about it? They were pictures only in my mind, and now I cannot read. Creative artists are bored children.
I feel it is up to each of us as we individuate, to discover mythology and follow it upstream in a way which is unique and meaningful. The paths on a mountain are of infinite variety and relationship; they connect and lead towards the peak which dissolves them all.
It is natural to be tired, and to let Isis, the oceanic subconscious, sink back into the tide: to breathe in and out; to sleep and wake.
At home I read in a little book by Sundaresa Iyer:
“I am the Present ever present, so I am not newly discovered or obtained. Only I have no delusion about myself. I am unborn so death cannot affect me. For me death does not mean the loss of a body, whether gross, subtle or causal. To me death means only identifying the Self with the non-self. This is intoxication, and this intoxication is Death. So has Sri Ramana Maharshi taught.
“ … caught and drew his normal consciousness deeper and deeper inward into that in which nothing but Itself is seen or heard or known, in which there is not the shining of the sun, the moon or the stars, but which is all these and fullness Itself.
“Abidance in the Void is firmness.”
Ramana – my earliest complete sketch of him
The Mother of God
I have one more small point to investigate in the interest of these Horns of Isis. My diversions into malleable symbolic history are as satisfying as writing poetry. As follows:
Hermes Trismegistus in Virgin of the World declares that: “Over the earth and sea he reigns who nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruitbearing trees and whose name is Zeus Serapis.” This is Jupiter. This deity symbolises expansion and grace. In the psychological Tree of Life, Hesed is represented by Jupiter.
I want to look briefly into the idea of the Apis bull, for I read in a scholarly book by the keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, that the name “Serapis” is derived from Osiris-Apis. Apis is a symbol of power and fertility, associated with the god PTAH. PTAH is the expression of primaeval creative power in the cycle of Osiris. Serapis was a Ptolomeic deity who acted as a bridge from Egyptian mystery to Greek philosophy. He was a benign bearded and Jovian character, with a great interest in death and funerary ceremonial.
The qualities of primaeval power and fertility were manifest in a bull calf born with special markings in Memphis. He was kept in the Temple, venerated throughout his life as the apis bull and finally buried with royal pomp and splendour. From the earth he came, took into himself the divinity of sky and was ploughed with it, back into earth. (“The Great Action rises up from the earth to the heavens and returns again to the earth, taking into itself the power of the Above and the Below”) The pharoahs would bow to this bull as a Great King – the archetype of their virile grace and favour. “He nourishes all mortal creatures, the plants and fruit-bearing trees.” He has the forces of growth.
The holy bull must be born of a mother, the sacred cow or Mother of Apis. She was identified with Isis, as “Hathor”. The burials in due season of these bulls of God with big throats and long pointed horns, and of their mothers, are very festive occasions. When the full moon sets below the western horizon, the sun is rising in glory in the east. And after the sun himself has set, the full moon is rising high and looking for her lord.
Two horns on the head of Isis are creation’s curve, the binary of two poles which carry the current.
In astrology, the moon is exalted – meaning that its power to respond is at its most benevolent and enduring – when it is travelling through the sign of “fixed earth” – TAURUS the Bull.
Tarot’s Hierophant – the High Priest, Arcanum 5 – is assigned to TAURUS, and the 6th letter, the VAV, meaning “hook” or “that which joins”. Taurus governs the throat and ears – the faulty of inner hearing or intuition.
Like a happy assonance for a poem, is the blend of Arcanum 2’s High Priestess, whose symbol is the Moon, with the power and fertility of the bull. When the sun is in Taurus, leaves have burst their buds, the baby birds are hatched and hungry, and spring is in full flower. Those born with the moon in Taurus often have intuitive “green fingers”. There is a consistency in their sense of touch with “the plants and fruitbearing trees” in the garden by day or the tao by night. They love nature and are strong and imaginative workers in their field. They have the power of concentration.
So it is by way of thanksgiving to this exploration and enquiry with Isis, that I discover her to be beautifully earthed, and let her rest. The Taurean glyph – the circle surmounted by a crescent — gives this work its cadence.
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.
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